1

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Stay on strength training, or move to Crossfit?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 22, 2011 at 7:17 PM

I recently moved, so my very convenient access to a gym with always-available power rack and bumper plates has now vanished. Earlier in the year, I started the Stronglifts protocol, and switched over to Starting Strength later in the summer. I'm still a "beginner", however, as I'm still seeing relatively easy gains and am not yet up to squatting 1.5x my body weight.

Unfortunately, there are no nearby gyms that offer bumper plates and power racks for me to easily continue the Starting Strength programming. I don't want to MacGuyver the workouts by using the wrong equipment, so I can either add 40 minutes to my drive each day by heading to the nearest gym one town over that does have the right equipment, or I can shell out the money for the equipment at home. That latter option would be appealing if it weren't for the fact that the equipment is rather expensive, and would sit in my unheated garage where it's pretty cold in the winter (i.e. I'd be lifting in the cold). The advantage to the latter option is that, if I can endure the cold temperature, the equipment is so accessible I'd religiously get my three weekly workouts in (i.e. I'd have no excuse not to workout).

If I took either route, I'd try to do some MovNat work or tabata/interval-style sprinting sessions here and there on non-lifting days. Nothing with heavy weights, but just to keep up my mobility and fast-twitch muscle fibers.

The other option is to forget about Starting Strength entirely and join a local Crossfit box, which seems like it's well regarded locally. It seems, however, that Crossfit is far more beneficial to those who already have a great strength foundation, and I don't consider that to be the case with me, yet.

I considered doing both and just lifting twice a week and doing Crossfit once or twice per week, but everything I've read seems to suggest that messing with the Starting Strength programming will diminish strength gains. (Starting Strength recommends only lifting thrice in a week, with no lifts outside the main five that are part of the protocol.)

If you were in my shoes, which route would you go? I consider all the options to be fairly "functional" as far as the end result goes, only each with trade-offs regarding strength vs conditioning/endurance.

C7e3ba0ed51a6195ae022822a8f056ac

(673)

on December 24, 2011
at 12:20 AM

@Greg - NICE! I hadn't thought of throwing down plywood over concrete to do deadlifts... im guessing the wood wouldn't last too long when doing cleans or jerks huh?

D7c4a7e0450cca6129b8a2be2a5045f1

(0)

on December 23, 2011
at 10:46 PM

Agreed. A power rack can be had for a few hundred (or built from 4x4's for < $50). 3 sheets of plywood on a concrete floor + carpet remnant = deadlift platform with no bumpers needed. Used olympic weights can be had on Craigslist for $.50/lb.

C7e3ba0ed51a6195ae022822a8f056ac

(673)

on December 23, 2011
at 06:54 PM

Also - to get the most out of crossfit I'd say being comfortable w/ the olympic lifts is highest importance. As for strength levels overall, that's a tough one. Some WODs and/or benchmark WODs are geared toward lifts, others metcon centric. Check out some benchmark WODs on the mainsite and try them out!

C7e3ba0ed51a6195ae022822a8f056ac

(673)

on December 23, 2011
at 06:40 PM

whats wrong with kips?

C7e3ba0ed51a6195ae022822a8f056ac

(673)

on December 23, 2011
at 06:39 PM

Damn look at my clone up in here giving good advice. couldn't have done it better myself!

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on December 23, 2011
at 05:55 PM

Continue strength training and stay the heck away from kipping pull ups and high box jumps. Do Fran every other week for time until you can crush it. Theres just something not right about doing Olympic lifts as an endurance exercise after being fatigued by some other exercise.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on December 23, 2011
at 05:26 PM

@conciliator - My goals are to "stay in shape" and improve my strength. Those goals can be reached with either route, but I guess I'm leaning towards greater strength gains at the moment over "work capacity". Perhaps I should have rephrased the question as, "What level of strength foundation should you have to get the most out of a program like Crossfit?"

324bf94d3d6f9322d6e4dba4becfaab1

on December 22, 2011
at 09:11 PM

As far as I'm concerned, training to be "functional" is silly an idea as training to be "toned". If you want to get stronger then lift heavy weights. If you want to run farther, then do sprints. If you want to improve your technique on a specific lift, then practice it.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 22, 2011
at 07:50 PM

What are your goals? If you want to get strong, do starting strength. If you want to just get 'all around fit' (whatever that means) do crossfit. Although to be honest I think it's pretty easy to design your own all-around-fitness program superior to any crossfit programming.

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6 Answers

1
C7e3ba0ed51a6195ae022822a8f056ac

(673)

on December 23, 2011
at 06:45 PM

Seems like you answered your own question already!

First - work on your strength gains first and reach your goals. However, if you feel your form may lack then you might want to stop by the gym or the CF box and get some help with form. Cheaper option is to video yourself doing lifts and post to forums to critique form.

Second - Gym or homegym; depends on your self motivation. If you can self motivate 3x/week and hit those lifts hard, do it at home. If you need to have your workouts away from home then go to the gym. (Not judging either, its just personal pref)

Sidenote - I love crossfit, but as hinted at from other people in this thread sometimes the programming may be a little sketch, esp when you want strength gains as opposed to metcon workouts. Personally I'm looking into building a home gym soon.

1
7d189666820da6f61b9d0b90976185e9

(70)

on December 23, 2011
at 03:53 PM

I'd totally invest in my own equipment. Travelling to the gym can be such a pain. The ROI will improve over time.

At the very least, stick with weight training for now. It's so tempting to buy into Crossfit's "all-around fitness" motto, but if you lack basic requirements (like strength), you're better off lifting.

Focus and progression, my friend.

D7c4a7e0450cca6129b8a2be2a5045f1

(0)

on December 23, 2011
at 10:46 PM

Agreed. A power rack can be had for a few hundred (or built from 4x4's for < $50). 3 sheets of plywood on a concrete floor + carpet remnant = deadlift platform with no bumpers needed. Used olympic weights can be had on Craigslist for $.50/lb.

C7e3ba0ed51a6195ae022822a8f056ac

(673)

on December 23, 2011
at 06:39 PM

Damn look at my clone up in here giving good advice. couldn't have done it better myself!

C7e3ba0ed51a6195ae022822a8f056ac

(673)

on December 24, 2011
at 12:20 AM

@Greg - NICE! I hadn't thought of throwing down plywood over concrete to do deadlifts... im guessing the wood wouldn't last too long when doing cleans or jerks huh?

1
25269b4fa657a2120a565efe1b3eef11

on December 23, 2011
at 03:46 PM

I agree Miked, for a great blend of the two you might consider Crossfit Football. Welbourn's programming is great and you will definitely get stronger on that program while also improving "work capacity" if thats your thing. Personally, I find CFF more fun while avoiding a beatdown.

0
Medium avatar

(248)

on January 02, 2012
at 12:37 AM

Hey, Starting Strength is a legit program. Keep working on that and progressing until you can't anymore. After that, I'd recommend reading Greg Everett's Olympic Lifting book. It's really good.

As far as CrossFit vs. home gym, if you need motivation, a Crossfit gym is always good, but make sure the trainers know that your there for strength and power, not so much metcons. Personally, I'm not a big fan out of metcons. I'd rather be strong and powerful.

Home gyms are a good idea too, just make sure your form doesn't slack off. Using a video camera for each workout and then watching it afterwards is always a good way to make sure your form still looks well. Hope that helps. Greg Everett's book is the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Olympic-Weightlifting-Complete-Athletes-Coaches/dp/0980011116/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325464625&sr=8-1

0
74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

on January 02, 2012
at 12:17 AM

Starting strength is a great program and I would get every ounce of beginner gains that you can. I would not move onto anything that looked like mainsite programming based on what you are looking for.

I would try to contact a few of the boxes that are close to you and see if you can do startingstrength workouts or if there programming matches as desired.

0
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on December 22, 2011
at 07:47 PM

I do CrossFit, but the programming at my local box is very strength-based and not at all like the mainsite programming. It's actually funny, as you notice, being strong makes you good at crossfit, but the mainsite programming is designed for beatdowns and not anything to actually make you strong.

My recommendation is to check out your local box and see what they're programming is like. If most of the WODS are heavy and/or short, then great. If they're long beatdowns, then stay away.

As for gaining strength, I usually do one 12-week program in the summer to build strength with no metcons or anything like that, then the rest of the year it's just a heavy-Crossfit style workout. It's so much easier to build strength in the summer when you have the sun to help with the growth hormones, that I don't even try to do anything like that in the winter, I just try to not lose anything over the winter.

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